Google agreed to pay $155 million (nearly Rs 1,300 crore) to settle claims from California and private plaintiffs who said the search engine company misled consumers about the way it tracked their locations and used their data without consent. data.

Both settlements resolve allegations that Alphabet units deceived people into believing they still controlled how Google collected and used personal data.

The company is accused of being able to “profile” people and serve ads to them if they had their Location History settings turned off, as well as deceiving people about their ability to block ads they don’t want.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said: “Google tells users that once they opt out it will no longer track their location, but it does the exact opposite and continues to track users’ activities to to obtain their own commercial interests.” a statement. “This is unacceptable.”

The California settlement requires Google to pay $93 million (nearly Rs 770 crore) and disclose more information about how it tracks people’s movements and uses the data it collects.

Google’s $62 million (nearly Rs 515 crore) settlement with private plaintiffs, after deducting legal fees, will be donated to a court-approved nonprofit that tracks Internet privacy issues.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys say that makes sense because distributing funds to the roughly 247.7 million U.S. adults who own mobile devices is “unfeasible.”

Some critics say this type of settlement, known as “cy pres,” offers little benefit to class members.

Google denies liability and both settlements require court approval.

In November last year, Google agreed to pay $391.5 million (nearly Rs 3,250 crore) to resolve similar allegations filed by 40 states in the US.

The Mountain View, California-based company also reached settlements worth $124.9 million (nearly Rs. 1,040 crore) with Arizona and Washington states.

A Google spokesperson on Friday pointed to a blog post discussing the multi-state settlement and said it related to “outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

Attorneys for the private plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the first half of 2023, Google generated $110.9 billion (nearly Rs. 9,221 billion) in advertising revenue, accounting for 81% of its total revenue of $137.7 billion (nearly Rs. 1,144.84 billion).

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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